Fantastic Four: TWGCM >> View Post
Post By
Ancient One

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,002
In Reply To
Chris Tolworthy

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 3,423
Subj: Re: 200 page analysis of Fantastic Four issue 1
Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 at 07:06:09 am EST (Viewed 223 times)
Reply Subj: 200 page analysis of Fantastic Four issue 1
Posted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 at 07:46:25 am EST (Viewed 265 times)

Previous Post

You may not like the title. Sorry guys, but after writing the book this was the only thing I could possibly call it:

Since the late 1990s I've had a rather large FF web site. But I haven't added much over the past couple of years. The reason is, the more I focus on the things I love about the FF, the more I realise that what I REALLY like is Jack Kirby's FF. And I see the story continuing in his other work (the FF is the Challengers, and I think the characters continue in his later books, with changes just for legal reasons)

I love the FF stories where Kirby was involved. And I hated the changes that Lee made as soon as he was solo writer: immediately getting rid of Crystal; making Sue weaker; replacing change with the illusion of change so Franklin would never grow up, or do anything interesting; recycling old plots - Galactus, creature from the lost lagoon, etc... I admit that I am hopelessly biased, but for my tastes, everything that Kirby added made the team wonderful and exciting and ground breaking and just amazing. And for me, everything Lee added, for me, went the other way.

I feel like a real heel just writing that. A party pooper. After all, isn't Stan Lee at the heart of what makes comics silly fun? Maybe I'm just too serious. But I love Kirby's sense of humour, I love his dialog in his own comics (it's a real change of gears but when I "got it" I never wanted to go back to Lee's style). Lee just doesn't do it for me.

Anyway, click the link at your own risk! If you can get past my obvious negativity toward Lee, hopefully you'll find some interesting stuff. And if nothing else, maybe it's a warning to future generations, not to take comics too seriously.

PDF version (recommended):

web version (if you have a slow Internet connection):

Thanks for reading!

Wow. I hardly know where to begin with this.

Let me start by congratulating you on such an incredibly detailed analysis. Truly worthy of praise.

Also, worthy of criticism, and far more detailed criticism than I'll go into here. But I feel some of the issues have to be addressed. So here goes:

1) "In June 1957 the American News Company ceased trading, leaving Goodman with no way to get his 85 comics per month into 15 the shops".

Where did you come up with that number? Marvel/Atlas never put out more than around 40 titles per month at any time during the 40's and 50's. A trivial point, perhaps, but such a glaring error right off the bat did give me pause, and wonder if it was worth continuing reading.

2) Your point about the Invisible Girl's cover dialogue being misleading is another triviality. The copy indicates she's in danger, and that's a great 'hook', just what you need for the cover of a first issue. And in terms of the narrative, what difference if she can become invisible instantly, or if it takes her a week? Invisibility isn't going to solve the problem that she's in the grip of a giant monster. And a cave-dweller to boot, whose eyesight probably isn't that great.

3) Attacking Marvel comics for the quality of their adverts is a nonsense, and a red herring. If you were talking about comics in general, fair enough. But you use it in a piece attacking Stan Lee personally, the implication being that Lee was responsible, or at least complicit in deception. Also implied is that only Marvel would consider running such ads, but nothing could be further from the truth. Superman #148, published the same month as FF #1 carries a bodybuilding ad making similar claims, and EXACTLY THE SAME ad from the 'Wallace Brown Company' claiming large cash incomes.

4) "Whether or not Lee was doing this in 1961, he certainly did it in later years. When Lee finally left comics in 1972, “Stan Lee presents” was written at the top of thousands of comics that Lee never even read, let alone created. Today Lee’s name is on movies that he almost
certainly had no hand in creating".

Lee didn't leave comics in 1972. He stopped writing them that year when he was promoted to publisher. Between 1972 and 1979 Lee was indeed 'presenting' the stories in Marvel Comics. But no claim of authorship was ever made. Indeed, the writers' names were clearly given in the credit boxes.

As to the movies, Lee is credited as executive producer. This is a catch-all title given to many people with many different interests in the film. By the same token, Michael Uslan's name appears on every Batman film by virtue of a technicality, even though he has absolutely nothing to do with the creative process of any of them.

5) "Perhaps we could argue that “all comics had bad dialog back then.” But that isn’t true. Look at the comics where Kirby wrote the dialog, like Sky masters for example. Here’s a Kirby villain with Kirby dialogue".

Kirby didn't dialogue that Sky Masters strip. It was written by Dave Wood. Nor did he write the story from Young Romance you cite. The author is unknown, but it's clearly not Kirby.

6) Did Lee, or someone working for him, white out artists credits prior to publication? I can't say for certain that it NEVER happened, but it definitely didn't happen in the case you present, the splash page of 'A Martian Walks Among Us', from Strange Tales #78. Attached is the finished splash as published and as you can see, the credits are intact. Whoever whited out the credits on the original art did so AFTER publication.

There's a lot more I want to get to, but I don't have time right now.

I'll continue my critique later this evening when I get home from work.

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